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A chance to KO the Braves

Sep 14, 2012, 12:00 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
The Nats and Braves meet this weekend for the final time … in the regular season.

It has loomed on the schedule for weeks, a mid-September showdown with the only team that still had a chance to overtake the Nationals in the NL East. But then the Nationals kept winning, the Braves started losing and now the two teams enter this weekend series in Atlanta with 8 1/2 games separating themselves.

And that unexpected turn could leave the Nationals in a really unexpected position by the time they leave town late Sunday night: having all but clinched the franchise's first division title.

Even in a worst-case scenario, the Nationals will end the weekend holding a still-comfortable, 5 1/2-game lead with 16 to play. If they win just once at Turner Field, they'll maintain a 7 1/2-game lead. If they take two of three, that lead jumps to 9 1/2 games. And if, by some chance, they happen to sweep … well an 11 1/2-game lead with 16 to go is mighty tough to surrender.

Not that anyone in the clubhouse is speaking in those terms, at least not in public.

"Obviously, we have a big series coming up these next three days," third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. "We need to go down there andRead more ยป

118 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. ehay2k - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    Makes me wonder: How will the pressure differential (High on the Barves, who need to keep winning to just make the playoffs; Low on the Nats, who still lead for the division even if they get swept) affect the team's play?Just makes it more fun to watch. ;-)

  2. ehay2k - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    Should have been "teams' play."

  3. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    Pressure? What pressure? The Nats are the ones who *apply* the pressure.

  4. natsfan1a - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    That, my friends, is what we call Natitude. :-)

  5. ehay2k - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Ooh Sofa, that sounds like a new term: Natmosphere – Localized weather phenomenon characterized by unrelenting high pressure.

  6. natsfan1a - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    I believe that "Natmosphere" was used to describe the Nats-specific blogosphere in prior seasons.

  7. Gonat - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    Houston beat the Phillies! Wow! Cardinals beat the Dodgers to push the Nats playoff magic # to 4!

  8. natsfan1a - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    Just shows to go you that you never know what might happen in any given game. :-)

  9. ehay2k - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    natsfan1a – I think the term, previously visible on WaPo NatsJournal blog, was "Natosphere." I also just noticed that section has been pulled from WaPo the site, along with all the links to other blogs. Boo to the WaPo!!

  10. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 14, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    tough matchup tonight. medlen has very good numbers against us. let's see how det fares in comparison. good luck to Nats!!!and let's sweep the braves (does that clinch a playoff spot or still depends on how other teams do?).

  11. Navy Nats Fan - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    A caveat for those watching the Wild Card Magic Number – it is currently at 4 – but remember that there are multiple teams in play, so you can't say something like "any combination of 4 Nats wins and Dodgers losses gives the Nats a guaranteed Wild Card." This is because the Pirates could overtake the Dodgers and become the new contender for the final Wild Card. For the Wild Card, it's easier to look at total losses. Nats currently have 54, so even if they lose all 19 remaining games, the WORST possible finishing record is 89-73. Now look at the wild card standings. Anyone with more than 73 losses (SD, Mets, Marlins, Rockies, Cubs, and Lastros) already will finish behind the Nats in the Wild Card. Nats win two more games, Phillies and DBacks are now behind. Three more games puts the Brewers behind. And four clinches the Wild Card as the Dodgers and Pirates are behind. So just make it easy, and win the next four!

  12. natsfan1a - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    I've seen both versions, ehay. I also noticed that the Nationals Journal page had killed the blogroll. I no longer tend to read comments there, but I do sometimes check out the blog posts (the Insider always being my first stop :-)).

  13. smurff - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    Just finished reading a couple of blog articles in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Man, that's a negative fan base right now….

  14. NCNatsie - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    Those WaPo blog listings are how I found Nats Insider in the firse place, so who knows what brilliant commentator will never get here now that a pathway has been closed off?! :)

  15. Candide - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa said…Pressure? What pressure? The Nats are the ones who *apply* the pressure.Word.

  16. natsfan1a - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Good point, NCNatsie. :-)

  17. fast eddie - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Sofa:Your comment re: pressure reminded me of a Sales VP I used to work for. He talked about stress and called himself a "carrier"; he never felt stress, he CAUSED stress!Let's cause the Barves some stress this weekend!

  18. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    Doubt many care, but Os won their 81st game yesterday. good for them.

  19. MicheleS - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    Take the series boys….

  20. DCJohn - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    Every tean that Nats for the rest of season has a chance to make the playoffs, so every series is important. Braves, Dodgers, Brewers, Phillies, Cards, and Phillies. It is daunting. It will be a grind. There will no point to relax. We need to knock the Phillies out of contention. Does any Nats fan want to meet the PHillies in the playoffs, especially if we have to play the first two games in Philadephia. Starting tonight, the playoffs actually start. Go NATS.

  21. mick - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    DCJohn you read my mind, very well said about the Phillies, they are very scary and are playing good ball right now

  22. BigCat - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    Yep…..the kitchen gets hotter……starting tonight. Wonder if Davey is gonna try Morse

  23. NatsNut - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    daunting, but SO EXCITING!! I don't really want us to cruise into the playoffs, I WANT us to fight for it. Ooooooh, I'm getting so giddy!

  24. Theophilus T. S. - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    If the Phillies are serious about making the playoffs, why are they starting someone named "Tyler Cloyd?" Sounds like an Andy Griffith spin-off.

  25. John C. - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    In a somewhat off-topic line, I noticed from the blogroll at left that Kelli Johnson is leaving CSN Washington for a lead anchor position at CSN Houston. She will be missed! Not only did she break stories (she's the one who got Davey's "if we don't make the playoffs I should be fired" interview, and was very good on the Redskins beat), but she was very gracious and funny when I met and talked with her at NI functions.Hopefully we can have an NI gathering and send her off in style before she leaves, but either way I wish her all the best.

  26. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 14, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    Why is ANYBODY looking back or playing out the whole season? Only care about the task at hand, one game at a time. It's how the Nats got to this point and it seems to have wotked very well.

  27. Theophilus T. S. - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    Doubt that Medlen is the guy you'd choose to bring Morse back. All those changeups in on the fists would be hard on the wrists and hands.Just the law of averages says Medlen is due for a stinker. (Plus the TJ recovery wisdom is that inconsistency is the norm.) If not, the best strategy — and this is where it gets tough on Detwiler — is to make it a battle of the bullpens. If the game is tied in the sixth (or thereabouts), Atlanta will have to pinch-hit for him and I'll take the Nats BP against theirs.

  28. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Maybe I need autocorrect…Phillies, Schmillies. Once you get into the playoffs, every team is good, but NONE of them are looking forward to playing the Nationals. You don't enjoy facing the good teams with something on the line? Easy solution — don't follow a team that makes the playoffs."It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great."Jimmy Duggan, HOF.

  30. Natslifer - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    I'm hoping Morse rests for the series and T Moore gets more PT. Sounds like an injury that's very annoying and can be made worse. I'd love to see Tyler with more ABs before October.All in on one game at a time – "win the series, win the division" – repeat until Magic # = 0

  31. bowdenball - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said…"Why is ANYBODY looking back or playing out the whole season? Only care about the task at hand, one game at a time. It's how the Nats got to this point and it seems to have wotked very well."Because it's fun and because what we do as fans has absolutely no bearing on how the team plays?

  32. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    What does T-Mo needs physical therapy for?

  33. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    Because it's fun and because what we do as fans has absolutely no bearing on how the team plays?Clearly not true. I have personally body-englished several hits over the fence.

  34. JT - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    I will be in Atlanta for games 2 and 3 of this series wearing my Nats colors!! My goal specifically is to "stop the chop". NATITUDE @ Turner Field!! JTinSC

  35. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    Besides, Davey reads these comments and takes our advice. Right, Davey?

  36. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    Davey?

  37. fast eddie - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    JT:I'll be at the Sat.game with my daughter and curly "W" caps, in Sec.116 behind the Nats dugout. Where are you sitting?

  38. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    I'm very impressed with the low key approach the players are taking.You have to wonder how different they really feel inside.

  39. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    JT/FastEddie,Way to go! Road trips are great in non-hostile cities.

  40. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    Tonight's game could always be the start where Medlen cracks. He finally started to show some signs of imperfection over the last weekend.He has been a master of getting the lefties swinging at balls out of the strike zone and the righties on that changeup.

  41. Theophilus T. S. - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    "Stop the chop." If only we could. All it makes me think of is Jane Fonda doin' it next to Ted Turner — and wanting to barf until the bag overflowed. Stopping the chop may require moving 'em to some capital of political correctness like Berkley or Madison, or maybe back to Boston.

  42. smurff - Sep 14, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    I'm also in favor of sitting Morse and letting that wrist and thumb heal up. He needs to be healthy for the finish of the season and after. T-Mo and the Shark can cover for a few games. Go get 'em, men!!!

  43. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 14, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… I wouldn't have Morse swing a bat tomorrow. I would hold him out until he feels better. His bat is needed more in the post-season than the next 2 weeks. September 13, 2012 1:57 PM I reiterate what I said yesterday on Morse. Stay the course and get Morse healthy. Need him healthy and lethal in the playoffs.

  44. alm - Sep 14, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    Barbarella doing the chop… now that's a better image that Jane and Ted.Knocking out the Braves will be sweet. They have not won the division since their 11 year run ended in 2005 and have been the wild card only once in 2010. maybe they will collapse all the way out of the wild card. I can only hope.And keeping the philties out is definately an important goal.I am not rooting for the miracle Os and won't as long as Angelos is their owner.

  45. smurff - Sep 14, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    I usually lean away form the ESPN website, but their 'Hunt for October' page has some pretty decent information. Nats have the second toughest remaining schedule in the NL, based on opponents' winning percentage. Dodgers have the toughest in the NL. Man, the Orioles have their work cut out for them…..

  46. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 14, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  47. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 14, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    Faraz Shaikh said… Doubt many care, but Os won their 81st game yesterday. good for them.smurff said… Man, the Orioles have their work cut out for them…..alm said… I am not rooting for the miracle Os and won't as long as Angelos is their owner. alm, I'm with you and because of Angelos, I will celebrate the Orioles demise and hope they don't make the playoffs. That one man is just bad for baseball and the way you should run a sports franchise as a business. Look at the way he is treating MASN and the deliberate back-seat the Nats get.I am a Redskins fan but don't have any animosity towards the Ravens so its not a "regional" thing, just don't want to see Angelos succeed at any level.

  48. NCNatsie - Sep 14, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    Ghost, here's how bad it is with me. I have been a huge fan of Showalter. I have hated the Yankees since I attended my first baseball game in Fenway in 1952. But my negative feelings about that bloodsucking lawyer Angelos are so strong that I continue to root for the Orioles to lose.

  49. natsfan1a - Sep 14, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    I'm with alm and Ghost.On a Nats note, thanks for representing in ATL, JT and Fast Eddie.And, for sec3, I don't know that I've body-englished any hits but does shouting "get out" at the tv count? (Oh, hi, Davey!)

  50. natsfan1a - Sep 14, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    (Wait, who's that next to us? Oh, hi, Natsie. :-))

  51. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 14, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    It's not like the Orioles fans voted Angelos in as owner. He's inflicted more onto them than on anybody else. And the players certainly don't have much say in the matter. I'm enjoying their run almost as much as watching the Phillies tank and miss the playoffs, and the Braves getting eliminated.

  52. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    and yes, 1a, shouting at the TV definitely has an effect on the games. Look how much better they're doing now compared to when they only had 9,000 viewers. QED.

  53. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    NCNatsie said… Ghost, here's how bad it is with me. I have been a huge fan of Showalter. I have hated the Yankees since I attended my first baseball game in Fenway in 1952. But my negative feelings about that bloodsucking lawyer Angelos are so strong that I continue to root for the Orioles to lose. September 14, 2012 11:44 AM I have lived in many different states and prior to 2005 I was a man without a team because of Peter Angeloser. That guy was a killjoy for my baseball fix. After the Senators left and I was living in DC, you only had the Orioles and Memorial Stadium and it grows on you. Angeloser killed any joy in baseball and I prayed for Washington to get a team.I still can't believe there is anyone living within an hour of DC that would support Angeloser. He didn't hold the crown to the worst owner in pro sports for no good reasons!

  54. natsfan1a - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    Excellent. :-)Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa said… and yes, 1a, shouting at the TV definitely has an effect on the games. Look how much better they're doing now compared to when they only had 9,000 viewers. QED. September 14, 2012 12:01 PM

  55. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    Sec 3, to each their own. I said last off-season how much I wanted Adam Jones here. I also believe Angeloser agreed to a contract extension for him so he wouldn't end up in DC. Angeloser thinks its a coup by picking up a Nick Johnson or a Luis Ayala. They are a team that has literally been assembled by multiple dumpster dives. Its beyond any baseball logic that they have gone as far as they had. They call it Orioles Magic and I call it Orioles Tragic.

  56. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    OK, back to Nats. Danny Rouhier and Holden Kushner reporting that the Nats will be handing out Thunder Sticks at the 1st home playoff game.They hate the idea and I hate the idea as they are really annoying. I'm hoping it is not true. Hand out a towel. Hand out Red Bull to over-caffeinate those that can't get up for a game. Don't hand out those annoying sticks.

  57. Feel Wood - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    Thunder sticks would prove quite handy for whacking anyone near me who tries to start the wave. Or whacking Clint or Terrance just on general principle if I happen to see them walk by.

  58. natsfan1a - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    So as not to turn this into anti-O's insider, I'm also standing next to Ghost in saying to each his (or her) own re. any extra-Naticular rooting interests. On the thunder sticks – ugh, hope not. I'm already half deaf, and I don't need any extra help to go all the way, thankyouverymuch. :-) (Also, get off my lawn!!)

  59. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    Wow, lotta hatin in here today…

  60. bowdenball - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    I'm with Ghost. If you want to support the Orioles that's your business. I get along fine with their fans. But as you watch them, remember that you are supporting a team that literally does not want the Washington Nationals to exist. In fact, the only reason the Washington Nationals exist is because they gave in to extortion by the Orioles, approved by Bud Selig, that gives Angelos, and by extension the Orioles, our TV rights. Money that should belong to the Washington Nationals for use to make our team better instead goes right into Angelos' pocket, and he can use it to make their team better instead.This isn't a simple case of hating the Orioles because of a local rivalry and because their owner is a bad guy. It's about the Nats. The Orioles and Angelos have taken and continue to take steps to harm the ability of the Washington Nationals to compete through the ridiculous TV deal. I sure as heck can't support a team that's ripping us off.

  61. mick - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    This should be the Nats attitude about the Phillies….Phillies, ha ha. All right, I'll go and beat them for our great fans. Wicked Manuel or no Wicked Manuel, Lee or no Lee, I'll tear them apart. I may not come out alive, but I'm going in there. There's only one thing I want you fellows to do. Talk me out of it! lol ah its Friday

  62. Ron In Reston - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    Re: Orioles and Angelos…My family moved here from the Petersburg, VA area in December of 1971, just in time to see the last moving truck leave for Texas. I was 6 1/2 years old. I immediately became a Rangers fan because they used to be my team. But after a couple of years, we started going to O's games at Memorial Stadium. It was great, and I loved the O's. Have many fond memories of the games there and the rides from NoVa up 95. I remember sitting in the parking lot across the street listening to a game against the Tigers because the game sold out and the way they parked cars in that lot, once you were in, you couldn't get out until the game ended. I made a bundle off them in 1983 when I was in college, surrounded by White Sox fans :) I was living in California when it was time for Cal to break Gehrig's record, so I flew back just for that game.Then Angelos took over and completely and utterly destroyed the team that I grew up with. Sure, it wasn't the same team as in personnel, but it was always the same mentality and pride. He destroyed it, and when I learned that he was doing everything in his power to PREVENT Washington from having a team, it just made me hate him all the more. Am I glad the Orioles will finally have a winning season? Yes, I am, because the fans deserve it. DO I want them to make the playoffs? Absolutely NOT, because Angelos doesn't deserve it, nor the extra income it will generate. The last game I went to at Camden Yards was Cal's 2131 and I refuse to go back and put a penny in that man's pocket, even when they play the Nats.Ok, enough of that.As far as Thuinder Sticks…..no, hell no, and *%^&$%$&^%*&^$*&^$%#^%#$ NO. I'd rather have vuvuzelas ;)

  63. NatsNut - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    1a, i'm with you on the thunder sticks if used for noise, but LOVE Feel Wood's version.LOL! +1Feel Wood said… Thunder sticks would prove quite handy for whacking anyone near me who tries to start the wave. Or whacking Clint or Terrance just on general principle if I happen to see them walk by.

  64. alm - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    Are thunder sticks those blow-up bats like they gave out on opening day in 05? If they are they didn't hurt my enjoyment that night and I am pretty sure nothing can do so on our first playoff game.Can not believe this is really happening. I had us at 87 wins. My son predited 100, but just to clarify, he has predited 100 wins every year since 05 – eternal optimist that he is.

  65. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    bowdenball, great post. Everyone should know the history. He tried to invoke a regional monopoly on baseball when he should have worked towards a decent product on his field instead of his extortion tactics.Also, the only reason he stayed in business was his 18 games vs NYY & BOS or he wouldn't even have a fanbase. That's right, his fanbase is counting on the visiting teams.

  66. natsfan1a - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    I almost suggested vuvuzelas, Ron, but then I remembered hearing them live at P-Nats games. :-)And that *was* pretty danged funny on alternate use of thunder sticks.

  67. mick - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    Bowden and Ron, excellent posts… But Ghost, let's be fair it is an a-hole owner who does not want the Nats to exist, not the players and I bet not the management or real baseball fans

  68. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    alm said… Are thunder sticks those blow-up bats like they gave out on opening day in 05? If they are they didn't hurt my enjoyment that night and I am pretty sure nothing can do so on our first playoff game.Can not believe this is really happening. I had us at 87 wins. My son predited 100, but just to clarify, he has predited 100 wins every year since 05 – eternal optimist that he is. September 14, 2012 12:39 PM Yes, blow up hard plastic that when you pound them together sound like a drum.Funny on your son with his prediction.Here's what's funny, the Nats may be in the best position to be the spoiler for the Phillies and keep them out of the playoffs. They are at 72-72 with 18 games left and 6 against the Nats and 3 against the Braves and 3 more against the Astros, 3 against the Mets and 3 against the Marlins.Phillies get RA Dickey on Monday.

  69. natsfan1a - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    Which sounds worse?You be the judge. :-)

  70. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    mick, you need to read the hatred of Orioles fans that hate the Nats because they believe the Nats existence eroded the Orioles fanbase.If Baltimore had a NBA and NHL team (which wouldn't happen) that would have the same effect. The Orioles had a regional monopoly on baseball for over 30 years.

  71. natsfan1a - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    Wait, that only had noise from one. Here's a good video for the other. Oy.

  72. peric - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    Davey doesn't take our advice … but he probably gets a tad nervous when we accurately guess what he's thinking .. ~smiles~

  73. bowdenball - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    mick said…"Bowden and Ron, excellent posts… But Ghost, let's be fair it is an a-hole owner who does not want the Nats to exist, not the players and I bet not the management or real baseball fans."Absolutely true. I don't hold anything against the Orioles fans. I have a good time with them in the stands. I like the players on that team for the most part. This isn't like the Phillies. What I'm saying is that, for the reasons I described, I can't root for them, and I have a hard time wrapping my head around other Nats fans rooting for them. Those guys on the field are getting paid in part with money that belongs to the Nationals organization, for them to spend on building a better club through scouting and free agency, or funding after-hours metro for fans, or making our tickets and beers a little cheaper, or whatever. That's a difficult thing to get over when you watch them.

  74. peric - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    If Baltimore had a NBA and NHL team (which wouldn't happen) that would have the same effect. They can have their Bullets back. Never like 'em much anyway.

  75. bowdenball - Sep 14, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    Meant to say "SHOULD belong to the Nationals organization."

  76. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 14, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    bowdenball, I will go a step further. The Oakland A's and San Diego Padres at one time considered relocating here. The Orioles got veto power on it and it was nixed.The Nats started here with a depleted farm system, no true management structure, short-term thinking, and when the Lerner's and other owners submitted their bids, they paid $450 million which immediately was considered a vast overpay at the time which also kept the team from spending the money necessary to get going.Once Angelos rightfully pays the Nats their MASN money based on fair market value will the Nats finally start financially move in the right direction.This MASN deal is such a bad deal in what should be a fair market no exclusions deal like all other team in the MLB have.

  77. peric - Sep 14, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    I guess this means they have been eliminated from the "tragic number" competition.

  78. peric - Sep 14, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    Am I glad the Orioles will finally have a winning season? Yes, I am, because the fans deserve it. DO I want them to make the playoffs? Absolutely NOT, because Angelos doesn't deserve it, nor the extra income it will generate.The Nats started here with a depleted farm system, no true management structure, short-term thinking,,. No matter how you slice this season for the O's is a one-and-done. This is not a franchise on the rise. In fact they only reason they are where they are is because of the epic collapse of the BoSox, an rapidly aging, way too old Yankees franchise, and an underachieving TB Rays team. The O's should still be dead last. If not for Showalter they would be. Its all about keeping up with the Natsies … or the Lerners … plus Angelos wanting to make his franchise. an attractive commodity for purchase.Meanwhile, back at the Nats. Rizzo et al are building for the long-haul. The Phillies and Braves have permanent company at the top of the NL East. And they know it. And both are scrambling to match the Nats. The MASN deal is a knife in the heart of this franchise. Selig and his new draft rules capping draft pick bonuses is like shoving the blade in deeper. Selig owes the Nationals and before that the Expos, given what he has done to the franchise.

  79. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 14, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    Impressive Peric.

  80. NCNatsie - Sep 14, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    Great link at 12:49, 1a — hilarious. I especially liked the guy who, in response to the question about which he hated worse, the vuvuzula or the thunder sticks, responded, "Yankee fans."

  81. Steady Eddie - Sep 14, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  82. Steady Eddie - Sep 14, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  83. Steady Eddie - Sep 14, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    Selig owes the Nationals and before that the Expos, given what he has done to the franchise.Agree, but none of us should hold our breath expecting he'll make good on that debt voluntarily.Our ace in the hole on the MASN deal should be the self-interest of other owners. The last thing they should want to see is for a suddenly wildly successful — and increasingly popular and glamorous — team to get a lousy TV deal in a current reset. The longer Angelos has been holding out, the more air leaks out of his balloon. That's going to make the end game even uglier, methinks, but maybe it'll be his comeuppance at the hands of the other owners with TV deals coming up.

  84. Steady Eddie - Sep 14, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    Oy, takes me two redo's to fix a one-letter typo!I need the weekend.

  85. Exposremains - Sep 14, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    Selig is as crooked as any other big CEO guy. They try to make you believe it's about you the fan but it's really about them and how they can get even more profit. The last thing Selig would ever do is acknowledging that he purposely destroy this franchise.

  86. SonnyG10 - Sep 14, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    GOSM, peric, and bowdenball pretty much cover how I feel about Angelos. I wish there was some way to strike down the deal to give Angelos our TV rights. That should be declared illegal by virtue of blackmail or something.

  87. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 14, 2012 at 6:35 PM

    Steady Eddie, the good news is that the ownership groups want to see revenue expansion to come from media, advertising, and global merchandising as ticket revenue growth during tough economic times and teams W/L success makes it too volatile. Long-term media deals is a payment you can count on and that is how the NFL has enjoyed their success.MLB ownership should definitely be on the side of the Nats as to keep giving momentum to these RCNs and their own future resets. Its all based on their own self-fulfilling needs.Still can't believe the clause in the MASN deal that the allows the Orioles to get the same deal as the Nats get.

  88. Steady Eddie - Sep 14, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    Ghost — my point azakly.The part that may get ugly is your last point about the Os getting the Nats deal — which could put MASN's viability in question. That could conceivably end well for the good guys but I wouldn't assume that, and even if it does, it won't be pretty getting there. With the plodding pace of that thing, this could be hot stove fodder…

  89. peric - Sep 14, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    Still can't believe the clause in the MASN deal that the allows the Orioles to get the same deal as the Nats get.That's the one where Angelos, the Mob lawyer, pulled one over used car salesman Selig. Selig was desperate to make Washington happen for the Expos. Even then he probably knew the Lerners were there waiting … which is why he sent good pal Stan to be a part of their group. Now, its up to the Lerners' lawyers and Selig's to deal with Angelos. Perhaps he'll ask the MLB to buy his team for a decent sized fortune?

  90. Ron In Reston - Sep 14, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    The only thing you need to know about how two-faced and crooked Selig is is that he refuses to consider reinstating Pete Rose, but at the same time allows advertising for casinos in the ballparks, quite conspicuously at Miller Park, where the team he used to own plays.

  91. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 14, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    Steady, supposedly all cable, DirecTV, Dish, and FIOS customers pay approximately $3.20 a month that goes to MASN. Any increased cost will be passed to those consumers in a price increase in Baltimore and Washington.I am also sure the behind the scenes accounting for MASN must be a nightmare. When you have a 88% owner and a 12% owner that became a marriage of neccisity instead of desire, its usually not going to go well when the profits or losses are then split.

  92. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 14, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    Ron, its do as I say, not as I do.

  93. #4 - Sep 14, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    No sports book at those casinos, Ron. That makes a big diffeerennce when we're discussing the integrity of baseball. I'm not a huge Selig fan, but I do think we should be fair to him

  94. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 14, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    The Casinos have always been big advertisers on TV and in particular on baseball. MASN has Hollywood Casinos and the NESN and YES have Casinos as advertisers. I'm sure when all the Maryland gambling gets going like "Live" and the others they will increase their advertising with MASN.

  95. Ron In Reston - Sep 14, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    Good point, #4, but it doesn't make me like Selig any more than I already don't

  96. natsfan1a - Sep 14, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    Yeah, that part was awesome. :-)NCNatsie said… Great link at 12:49, 1a — hilarious. I especially liked the guy who, in response to the question about which he hated worse, the vuvuzula or the thunder sticks, responded, "Yankee fans." September 14, 2012 2:09 PM

  97. Exposremains - Sep 14, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    What would be nice is if Selig had the fans as a priority not the owners.

  98. baseballswami - Sep 14, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    As much as I sometimes feel bad for the O's fans, their owner is evil – what he did to the Nats was just blackmail, plain and simple. Or extortion – or one of those nasty felonies. I hate it when we have joint coverage and everyone is making nice. I also can't stand to have any of their fans anywhere within 100 miles during the singing of the National Anthem. And you know why.I actually think they should be ejected from nats park if they do it. Ok – so I am a bit wound up about the next couple of weeks and am over-reacting just a tad. So sue me. Anyone else have silly nerves going on? It's amazing to me how these very young men can handle to much mentally. I just don't think the Nats play well after a day off and it's Kris Medlen on the mound. Come on, Nats!!!!! Nats Bats Nats Bats Nats Bats!!!!!

  99. Steady Eddie - Sep 14, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    Ghost, the scenario you outlined re "increase cost passed to those consumers" is exactly where the pain point will come. I've seen all of those providers, especially DirecTV, fight big price hikes, and have the megaphone (wrong metaphor!) to campaign to their customers how MASN wants to explode their bills, and DirecTV is protecting their interests against Angelos who "wants to pick your pockets." And however much DC viewership is increasing, those providers know they won't make up those costs in both markets. That's what I was talking about re ugly. All of those are big national providers who have the resources to play brinksmanship with MASN.

  100. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 14, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    Nats may end up facing Chris Carpenter this year after all as the Cardinals bring him off the DL.

  101. Steady Eddie - Sep 14, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    Not that I'm saying the national providers are wonderful or anything. Just that their business interests here mostly coincide with their customers' interests against an unsustainable business model (that is, the MASN contract).

  102. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 14, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    Steady Eddie said… Ghost, the scenario you outlined re "increase cost passed to those consumers" is exactly where the pain point will come. I've seen all of those providers, especially DirecTV, fight big price hikes, and have the megaphone (wrong metaphor!) to campaign to their customers how MASN wants to explode their bills, and DirecTV is protecting their interests against Angelos who "wants to pick your pockets." And however much DC viewership is increasing, those providers know they won't make up those costs in both markets. That's what I was talking about re ugly. All of those are big national providers who have the resources to play brinksmanship with MASN. September 14, 2012 3:18 PM Excellent post. Just like the Knicks and Cable in NY wasn't resolved until the Knicks had Lin-sanity and the public backlash was too great. There could be a backlash with MASN and probably the increases would have to be eased in.The best scenario would be the MASN deal implodes and the Nats go to Comcast (CSN), but I don't see that happening.In the end, the consumers will see their bill increases a dollar or three each month year over year. MASN on their part have to step up their programming which is a joke. They can help themselves by providing quality programming.

  103. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 14, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    baseballswami said… 1. I hate it when we have joint coverage and everyone is making nice.2. I also can't stand to have any of their fans anywhere within 100 miles during the singing of the National Anthem. And you know why.I actually think they should be ejected from nats park if they do it.Totally agree with #1 and #2. On #2, it sickens me to go to a Caps game and hear "O" and "Red" yelled out and yes, I have complained to the other phoney owner Leonsis about it and the response was he can't do anything about it. My response to him was how's about putting a message on the screen and I got no response. We had to put up with "O" during 2005 and part of 2006. Thank the lord that went away in Nats Park or at least 79 games in 2013.

  104. NCNatsie - Sep 14, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    It probably won't matter to anyone else on the blog, but although Comcast and MASN eventually reconciled their original spat, the one with Time-Warner, the cable company here in Raleigh was not resolved. And, yes, we are in the Wash-Balto market as far as baseball is concerned.The dispute was ongoing until suddenly, in 2010, the FCC stepped in and decided the thing themselves, agreeing with MASN and their extortionate price, which was a total loser for Time Warner, which then declined to carry MASN at all. So we get no cable of Nats (or Orioles) here. I suspect big Dem. contributor Angelos used his clout with the new administration to pull that off. I switched to DirecTV so I could get the Nats (I wasn't even allowed to get them on my computer via MLB, becuase I'm technically in-market.)

  105. baseballswami - Sep 14, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    So nice to see John Lannan being seriously and respectfully interviewed on mlb. So good to have him back with the team. I have to tell you that I am very superstitious about the assuming going on. We are close but it's not a done deal. Every time I hear someone talking like it's a fact already, I want to say magic words and dance around with a voodoo charm to appease the baseball gods. I don't allow anyone to speak that way in my presence. I just put my fingers in my ears and go LALALALALALALALALALALA!!!!!

  106. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 14, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    NCNatsie, I had no idea the MASN footprint was so large and to call NC in-footprint on MLB.TV is nuts.

  107. ehay2k - Sep 14, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    Will be at Nats park today, yet unable to see the game. You can't predict baseball parks!GYFNG!!!

  108. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 14, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    baseballswami, to make the Wild Card is the magic 4 away. I agree, a long way for the Division but take some joy in the magic # is 2 for the Phillies to be offically eliminated from winning the NL East.

  109. Unknown - Sep 14, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    This has been an amazing year. I predicted in March 85-88 wins with an outside chance of 90. You know, it's funny; I look at the player's individual stats and I really don't see anything I didn't expect I would see. How those stats translated into this kind of season is beyond me. If they go 10-9 the rest of the way, they'll end the season with a record of 99-63. At 12-7, they will go 101-61. Again; amazing. I'm one of those guys old enough to remember Senators I (barely) and Senators II (vividly). My first game was against the Yankees in 1963 thanks to some free tickets from WTTG-5 for hosting a "Carnival for Muscular Dystrophy." I never thought DC would ever host a championship team. One more time: amazing. Farid @ Idaho

  110. Scooter - Sep 14, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    Farid, I'm surprised too. I do have one guess as to what's happened: very little loss to injuries. On pitching, the starting five have gone out time and time again, which is rare. You usually have to mentally mark down a team a bit for the 10 starts that Yunesky Maya or Jerome Williams take.As to position players, I know some have been hurt, but the bench was surprisingly good. (Are you really not surprised by Lombardozzi and Moore [especially Moore!] as rookies, and also Bernadina?)But that's just a guess. Overall, I'm amazed too.

  111. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 14, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    Ghost of Steve M: You'd be surprised at the way MLB.tv defines a team's (or multiple teams') sphere of influence. In Oregon, we're blacked out from all games involving the SF Giants, Oakland A's, and Seattle Mariners. And when I lived overseas, while the rules were somewhat less strict in some senses (e.g., you could get the 'national' games live on MLB.tv) they were stricter in others, even if the country in which you were living didn't have any cable provider offering baseball.Farid: Agree completely on the seeming oddity of no Nats player have a superstar year. Usually a pennant contending team has at least that one player (often two) who is performing well outside his norm. I think (and hope) that the fact that the Nats are doing it with their players' 'average' performance bodes well for the future (knock on imitation wood grain).

  112. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 14, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    Just to be clear, by 'average' performance, I mean within a standard deviation of the mean, not that they are performing exactly at the mean.

  113. Scooter - Sep 14, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    Oh, and there's also no lost season here. (Right?) Most years, most teams have somebody who just can't do it, but they keep running him out there because they can't believe he's that bad, so he keeps hurting the team. Werth and LaRoche here last year, Adam Dunn with the ChiSox, Lincecum, Dontrelle Willis, Uggla. So while there are no really big happy surprises, I think there are also no really big bad surprises.(Did I forget one? I bet I forgot one. I can only hope that somehow, some way, my friends here will find it in themselves to correct my error.)

  114. Water23 - Sep 14, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    Ghost,I believe one of the main reasons the O's equality payment was put into the contract was to give MASN additional power over the Nationals. It could make an argument that by giving a huge increase to the Nats would then trigger the O's payment increase and make the network lose money. And as Angelos and not the O's owns MASN even if the cost are reduced the additional profits can be used for whatever he wants. In one sense, the O's lose out on a revenue stream but the O's parent corporation gains additional funds which it can roll into O's operations or pocket.

  115. JD - Sep 14, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    Exceeded expectations: Desmond, LaRoche, Gio, Bernie, Lombo, Moore, Werth, Burnett and to some extent Flores. As expected: Zim, Zimn, Espi, Clipard. Below expectations due to injury: Morse, Ramos, Storen. Wildcards (not shocks but pleasant matching of lofty expectations) : Stras, Harper.

  116. JD - Sep 14, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    Exceeded expectations: Desmond, LaRoche, Gio, Bernie, Lombo, Moore, Werth, Burnett and to some extent Flores. As expected: Zim, Zimn, Espi, Clipard. Below expectations due to injury: Morse, Ramos, Storen. Wildcards (not shocks but pleasant matching of lofty expectations) : Stras, Harper.

  117. Scooter - Sep 14, 2012 at 8:25 PM

    I'm Scooter, and I approve JD's message.

  118. natsfan1a - Sep 14, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    Add Wang?Below expectations due to injury: Morse, Ramos, Storen.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
WASHINGTON 78 59 -- 18
ATLANTA 72 67 7.0
MIAMI 67 70 11.0
NEW YORK 65 74 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 64 74 14.5
Through Tuesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Braves at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Braves at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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